'Super disappointing' – Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw withdraws from World Baseball Classic
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw revealed on Friday that he will no longer be able to take part in March's World Baseball Classic.
Kershaw was announced as part of Team USA's star-studded squad during the initial team reveal on February 9, but according to reporting from ESPN, he ran into a roadblock when it came to getting his MLB contract insured.
Teams require players on their 40-man rosters to have their contracts insured before taking part in the World Baseball Classic, but with 35-year-old Kershaw having missed time with back injuries in five of the past seven seasons, it was far from straightforward.
Speaking to reporters, Kershaw confirmed he is fully healthy and has the Dodgers' blessing, but ultimately could not make it work.
"Super disappointing," he said. "We tried a lot of different things, all sides, we really tried to make it work.
"Nothing's wrong with me, it just didn't work out. I really wanted to do it, I really wanted to be a part of that group.
"Probably my last chance to do it, so I really wanted to do it. Just didn't work out for a number of reasons. I'm frustrated.
"They should make it easy for guys that want to play, to play. Obviously if the team doesn't want you to play that's one thing, but if you have the team's blessing, like I do, it should be easier. They should probably look into that."
He added: "There were some factors that were making it hard for me to play, and I tried to work it out on my own, tried to work it out with MLB, the union, the team. Everybody worked hard to try to make it work, and I wasn't able to."
Team USA general manager Tony Reagins also shared his disappointment in the outcome.
"It's unfortunate that Clayton won't be able to pitch for us," he said. "Clayton's desire to wear USA across his chest and represent his country was evident very early on in this process.
"We would have loved to have this future Hall of Famer on the mound for us, we respect all that he would bring to this clubhouse and this group of men.
"We now have to pivot and turn our focus toward the next man up as we prepare to defend the WBC title. I'm confident in the roster that we've built and we look forward to getting everyone together in just a few weeks."